Saturday, September 24, 2016

Humor in Uniform – How to Get Your Posting Changed

Humor in Uniform  

Delightful Memories of My Unforgettable Navy Days 

Here is a “memoir” from the happiest days of my life – my early bachelor days in the Navy.

This hilarious story happened many years ago – in the 1970’s ... 

How to Get Your Posting/Transfer Changed

One aspect of military life is that you live a nomadic life because of frequent postings” (or “transfers” – as the Navy calls them).

Every 2 or 3 years – sometimes even less – you have to pack your bags, wind up your house and move to a new place. 

The plus point of frequent postings/transfers is that you see many places in your miltary career. 

The minus point is that there are many ramifications on the family and children due to this unstable life. 

In the Navy – you can be at Mumbai (the most sought after station) – or – you may land up in some desolate “back of beyond” place. 

Choice of station varies as you progress in service depending on your requirements. 

As a bachelor – young Navy Officers want to be in Mumbai – in order to enjoy the delights of “maximum city” 

(In this respect  I was lucky – since both the ships during my bachelor days were based in Mumbai).

Later – your criterion for choice of posting” changes – depending on your priorities – career interest – family life (married accommodation) – children’s education – wife’s career – medical grounds – compassionate grounds etc. 

Also – I have seen some officers – if they get posted/transferred to a place they do not like – these officers move heaven and earth – and pull all sorts of strings  to get their posting/transfers changed to a better place – or to their choice station.

I have seen all sorts of reasons why officers get their postings/transfers changed. 

But – the reason why Lieutenant “Z” wanted his posting changed was unique. 

Since this is a Navy story – I will use the term “Transfer” instead of “Posting” which is used by the Army/Air Force. 

Also – maybe the title “Why Lieutenant “Z” got his Transfer Changed” may be more apt than the rather generic How to Get Your Posting Changed

But – all that does not matter.

Read on – and – have a laugh...

The Story of Lieutenant “Z”
A Fictional Spoof

Lieutenant “Z” was transferred to Kolkata (or Calcutta – as the city was called in the 1970’s – but I will use the present name Kolkata in this story).

The “powers-that-be” thought Lieutenant “Z” would be very happy with his transfer  since Kolkata was his hometown.

Instead of being happy on seeing his transfer order – surprisingly  Lieutenant “Z” got very upset.

So  Lieutenant “Z” rushed to his ship’s Captain to get his transfer cancelled.

“We thought you would be happy – Kolkata is your hometown,” the Captain said.

“Sir – I don’t want to leave the ship…” Lieutenant “Z” said.

“Oh – it’s good to see that you are a true ‘sea-dog’ – and you like the tough life at sea – but then – you have to go ashore…” the Captain said.

“But – Why – Sir…?” Lieutenant “Z” asked.

“See – you got your ‘watchkeeping ticket’ last year – and you have served for more than one year on board as a sea watch-keeping officer – and you will be due for your ‘Long Course’ after 2 years…” the Captain said to Lieutenant “Z”.

“Sir – I can spend these 2 years on board this ship – or some other ship – but I don’t want to go to Kolkata – especially in that shore appointment…” Lieutenant “Z” said.

The Captain was getting exasperated – so he said a bit angrily to the young officer: “Look here Lieutenant “Z” – there is a bloody shortage of ships and sea billets – and we have plenty of young officers waiting for their watch-keeping tickets – so you will have to cool your heels ashore for 2 years till your ‘Long Course’ comes through…”

“Okay – Sir – if I have to go ashore – then please change my transfer to some other place – I do not wish to go to Kolkata…” Lieutenant “Z” said.

“I just don’t understand you – what’s wrong with Kolkata – it is your hometown – you can be with your parents, family and friends – I personally talked to DOP to get you this appointment – your CO at Kolkata is my friend and he is an excellent officer – he will give you a thumping ACR which will boost your career…” the Captain said.

“Sir – I don’t want to go to Kolkata…” Lieutenant “Z” said firmly.

Getting angry  the Captain looked at Lieutenant “Z” – and – the Captain said threateningly: 

Lieutenant “Z” – I am warning you – if you act funny – we will send to ‘Kala Pani’ in the Andaman…” 

“Sir – please send me to the Andamans…” “Lieutenant “Z” said happily. 

The Captain was taken aback by this retort of Lieutenant “Z” 

So – the Captain asked Lieutenant “Z”

“Are you crazy…? Why don’t you want to go to Kolkata…? Do you have you some family problems...?” 

“Sir – Booze is expensive in Kolkata…” Lieutenant “Z” said, matter-of-factly.

“What…? What do you mean ‘Booze is expensive in Kolkata’…? Is that the reason why you do not want to go there…?” an incredulous Captain asked “Lieutenant “Z”.

Sir – the only worthwhile perk we get in the Navy is “Concessional Liquor – that is why I want to remain on board ship so that I can enjoy ‘duty-free booze’ – but if I have to go ashore – please send me to a place where ‘Military Booze’ is cheap – Sir – the price of CSD Quota Liquor in Bengal is 3 times more expensive than the price out here in Maharashtra…” Lieutenant “Z” said.

(This story happened in the 1970’s – when CSD Quota Liquor was cheapest in Maharashtra. 

However – since tax concessions are given by State Governments – and local taxes/concessions keep changing from time to time – the situation may be quite different now – and it is possible that Military Booze may be more expensive in Maharashtra than in other states.

But even now – the prices of CSD Quota Liquor vary widely from state to state – so ‘Military Booze’ is cheaper in some states – and more expensive in other states)

Now – after this brief aside  let us continue with the interesting tête-à-tête between Lieutenant “Z” and his Captain...

“So – you wanted to remain on board this ship so that you can enjoy cheap ‘duty free booze’…?” the Captain asked Lieutenant “Z”.

“Yes – Sir…” Lieutenant “Z” said.

“Are you telling me that you even prefer to go to the Andamans because booze is cheaper there…?” the Captain asked Lieutenant “Z”.

“Yes – Sir…”

“It seems that you joined the Navy to drink Liquor…!”

“Yes – Sir…”

“What nonsense…? Are you crazy…? Are you telling me that you joined the Navy to drink liquor…?” the Captain shouted at Lieutenant “Z”.

“Sir – the main reason I joined the ‘Boozy Navy’ was to enjoy the best of ‘Duty-Free’ Booze – that is the reason why I want to serve on ships for the maximum possible time. But – if I have to go ashore – the least I can do is to enjoy my full quota of CSD ‘Military Liquor’ at the cheapest possible rates…” Lieutenant “Z” said, speaking candidly.

“Are you mad…? Are you saying that the only reason why people should join the Defence Services is to drink alcohol…? That means – according to you – teetotallers should not join the Navy – or the Armed Forces…” the Captain said to Lieutenant “Z”

“Sir – I told you before – the only worthwhile perk we get in the Defence Services is ‘Concessional Liquor’ – so what is the point of wasting your life in the Military if you are not going to enjoy this exclusive ‘Fauji Perk’ of ‘Military Booze’…? And if you don’t drink – if you are a teetotaller – you might as well take up a civilian job  you can live a comfortable life  and – you can earn plenty of money…” Lieutenant “Z” pontificated.

“I am a strict teetotaller – I don’t touch alcohol. Are you saying that I am wasting my time in the Navy…?” the Captain said angrily.

“Sir – just think of all the ‘Duty-Free’ Booze and CSD Quota Liquor you have missed out on in all these 25 years of your service…” Lieutenant “Z” said – with genuine regret in his eyes.

“You are a crazy bugger…! Just get out my cabin…” the Captain shouted at Lieutenant “Z”.


Two things happened after this amusing tête-à-tête between Lieutenant “Z” and his Captain.

The Captain picked up the phone and spoke to the DOP (who was his course-mate).

The DOP had a big laugh when the Captain told him the ‘Boozy’ reason why Lieutenant “Z”wanted his transfer changed.

Since there was no billet available in the Andamans (where ‘Military Booze’ was the cheapest in those days) – DOP did the next best thing possible – and  Lieutenant “Z”was transferred as a Divisional Officer to NDA near Pune where the price of CSD Quota Liquor was the same as in Mumbai  since both Pune and Mumbai were in Maharashtra State.

Then – the Captain thought about his conversation with Lieutenant “Z”. 

Lieutenant “Z” had a point.

Every job had its perks – the Railways gave free Rail Passes to its employees – Airlines gave free Air Tickets – Academicians got sabbaticals – the Corporate Sector too gave a variety of perks and freebies to its Executives – and everyone availed of these perks. 

Similarly – the Defence Services too had their perks – and  the most unique Military Perk was Concessional Liquor.

So – what was the point in joining the Navy and not availing of this most Precious Perk of Concessional Liquor’ – especially the ‘Duty-Free Foreign Liquoravailable on board ships...?

Why reliquish and forgo such a valuable perk given to you  and then  regret later  and complain after retirement – that you could not make the most of all the perks given to you by the Navy...?

The Captain thought of the notional loss he had incurred during the 25 long teetotalism years of abstinence during his long service in the Navy.

Yes – he has incurred a huge notional loss’ just because he had sacrificed this authorised Military Perk’  by not availing his ‘CSD Liquor Quota – and by not enjoying ‘Duty-Free’ Booze on board all the ships on which he had served.

There is a saying: Better Late than Never.

The Captain asked his steward to get him some chilled Beer.

It was only 11 o’clock in the morning – but that did not matter – the Captain wanted to make up for all these 25 lost years of teetotalism and abstinence and make good as much of the notional loss’ as possible in the remaining years of his service.

At first  the Captain’s Steward was a bit surprised.

But – when the Steward saw the Captain gesturing him to hurry up – the Steward served the Captain a chilled can of Premium Imported Beer (available dirt cheap at ‘duty-free’ rates on board ship).

This was the Captain’s first sip of booze ever since he joined the Navy more than 25 years ago.

Cheers !!!


Instead of wasting money on all those fancy unrealistic military recruitment advertisements  why don’t the Defence Services highlight CSD Quota Concessional Liquor as the USP of Military Life...?

And  of course  as far as the Navy is concerned – shouldn’t Duty Free Booze be highlighted as a special incentive to join the Navy...?

Think about it ... !!!

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1. This story is a fictional spoof, satire, pure fiction, just for fun and humor, no offence is meant to anyone, so take it with a pinch of salt and have a laugh.
2. This Story and All Stories in this Blog are a work of fiction. Events, Places, Settings and Incidents narrated in the stories are a figment of my imagination. The characters do not exist and are purely imaginary. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

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